K'taka polls: 59.84 per cent turnout in first phase

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Bangalore, May 10: An average 59.84 per cent polling was recorded in the first phase of elections to the Karnataka Assembly for 89 seats in 11 districts, which went off peacefully today.

Bangalore Rural District recorded the highest percentage of polling with 72.5 per cent, while the BBMP Area, which has 21 seats, recorded the lowest with 44 per cent, Karnataka Chief Electoral officer M N Vidyashankar told mediapersons this evening. After Bangalore Rural District, Ramnagaram District recorded 70 per cent polling followed by Chickballapur (68), Hassan (68), Mandya (68), Chamarajanagar (65), Kolar (64), Tumkur (63), Kodagu (60), Bangalore Urban (55), Mysore (54) and BBMP (Bangalore Urban District) (44). He said the polling was by and large peaceful throughout. The polling, which began at a low rate in the morning, picked up in the noon and was brisk for two hours before closure at 1700 hrs. DGP Sri Kumar told the sources that the polling was incident free barring minor scuffle between rival party workers in Anekal. However, the situation was brought under control by the police. Protests were reported at several booths as voters' names were missing from the list.

In Huttenahalli village in Priyapatna assembly constituency in Mysore District, about 1100 voters who threatened to boycott polling in protest against lack of infrastructure were pursued by the Revenue Officials and others to vote. The polling began at 1230 hrs. instead of scheduled 0700 hrs. In Gajjagalli village coming in Chamundeswhari constituency, over 1100 villagers boycotted the election and staged demonstration protesting against shifting of polling booth to Mandakalli village, about three km away from their village. However, they were pacified and provided transportation to the polling booth.

In all 53 incidents of technical snag, including 19 in Tumkur District, were reported. However, all the EVMs were repaired immediately by the technicians present and polling continued. As many as 30 people were arrested when they tried to cast bogus votes in Hebbal Assembly constituency coming under BBMP in the City. Replying to a question, Mr Vidyashankar said that there was no report about booth rigging or both capturing.

Referring to low turnout in urban areas, including in BBMP, he said that the pattern of low turnout was their in the previous election also. "it might be attributed for having deleted 59 lakh names during the verification of electoral rolls before finalising the list".

UNI

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